In 1992 a suit was successfully filed by environmentalists against the City and County of Honolulu to clean up and protect the watershed area above Windward Oahu, yet to this date very little has been done. The above pictures show a sewage pond and run off in the area above Waimanalo. What went wrong? We have now petitioned the Federal Court to correct this and other water quality issues. Read further for more details.
Community Petitions the Federal Court for Review of Consent Decree
Honolulu, Hawaii. EnviroWatch, Inc. and members of the predominantly Native Hawaiian community of Waimanalo, recently petitioned the Honorable Judge David Ezra for review of the Consent Decree which resulted from a 1992 suit filed by The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now known as Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund) on behalf of numerous environmental and community groups located in the Koolaupoko Watershed area of Windward Oahu.
The petition alleges that the terms of the Consent Decree have been ignored and that both the Plaintiff (the environmental groups and their attorneys) and the Defendant (the City and County of Honolulu) have in the past and are currently violating the conditions of the Decree and are not producing any significant improvements in water quality for the community.
The petition goes on to document that the Council, formed by environmental groups and the City and County of Honolulu under the Consent Decree, is guilty of the same tactics and behavior the City and County of Honolulu was accused of in the original suit. This includes secrecy surrounding public documents and the failure to release documents to the public as required by the Consent Decree. As a result of the petition before Judge Ezra, the environmentalists have invoked additional secrecy to prevent community members from any access to documents, studies, reports, and other information related to the conditions agreed to in the Consent Decree.
The petition also implies that the environmentalists are being manipulated by the City and County of Honolulu and by the Center for a Sustainable Future (CSF) a non-profit organization whose founder, director and board members consist of faculty and staff of the University of Hawaii's School of Earth Science and Technology. It has become apparent that, though consent decrees are created by the courts, they are not expected to be followed and there is no incentive or accountability to do so.
Because the environmental groups can and have been manipulated, the quality of life promised by the Consent Decree has been compromised. The environmentalists that filed the suit have failed to connect to the community they claim to represent. In fact, up to now they have only utilized isolated fragments of that community to establish a standing or need to satisfy victim impact for injury purposes.
Based on the inaction and lack of results from the organization formed under the Consent Decree, it appears that the environmental community has become opportunistic and is now being motivated by profits. The system is not serving the communities they claim to represent and has become nothing more than an industry designed to profit individuals through self-serving law suits.
The following court documents are provided for your information: